MEPS 282:45-58 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps282045

Process-based primary production modeling in Chesapeake Bay

Carl F. Cerco*, Mark R. Noel

Mail Stop EP-W, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180, USA

ABSTRACT: A primary production model is described and compared to 3 observational data bases: light-saturated carbon fixation, net phytoplankton primary production, and gross phytoplankton primary production. The model successfully reproduces the observations while maintaining realistic calculations of algal carbon, chlorophyll, limiting nutrient, and light attenuation. Computed primary production in light-limited regions is proportional to the algal growth rate. Successful computation of primary production in nutrient-depleted waters depends on the formulation and magnitude of the model predation term. Our quadratic formulation mimics a predator population that is closely coupled to algal biomass and rapidly recycles nutrients from algal biomass to available form.

KEY WORDS: Chesapeake Bay · Primary production · Phytoplankton · Mathematical models

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